Plundering the Dao of the Immortal Journey Chapter 133
As they got closer, everyone could see a signboard attached to a pole which was driven into the ground. This special signboard could only be hung up by a person who achieved Top Scorer status in the High Scholar examinations. On the door was another signboard which said, "Fu Mansion", and within the Mansion were the prominent words "Top Scorer" written in gold.
These signboards were the pride and joy of the entire clan. Whenever people from outside the clan looked upon these signboards, they would sigh with envy knowing that this was a family who had produced a great scholar. What was most important however, was the fact that small county officials who paid visits would see this signboard and feel inferior, they would know that their authority was insignificant here.
Once they crossed the gates, they were greeted by a large hall, with smaller adjourning halls on the left and right. Bamboo shoots were planted all along the corridor. Once they passed through the front yard, they reached the backyard, where many flowers were planted.
The corridor followed a wooden concept, where the only things that weren’t made up of wood were the limestone tiles. The reason for the limestone tiles presence was to avoid dirtying the house during rainy days.
Several young serving maids and older servants came out to welcome them. Bai San Chu was standing right in front, leading all of them.
'They are all starting to get along with each other.' Pei Zi Yun thought to himself, 'Mother is really comfortable here. It’s a pity that it’s not safe for her.'
He then glanced at Pei Qian Shi, who was carrying Liao Ye Qing and speaking to Yu Yun Jun, both of them were laughing and talking.
He then proceeded to enter the mansion before taking a seat within. Bai Ya immediately served him some tea, he saw He Qing Qing speaking with the old woman from the mountain tribe.
Pei Zi Yun sat beside them as he sipped his hot tea slowly. He then turned to He Qing Qing, "All of you shall stay here temporarily. I’ve already sent for Chen Yuan to attend to me, he should be here soon."
"I already have plans for these people. You officials are already aware of the fact that these people are here, and thus reporting these new changes and numbers to the consensus shouldn’t be too difficult right?" Pei Zi Yun then spoke with a low ranking government official.
The official hurriedly replied, "It’s not difficult at all. The county’s senior officials have already been informed of this matter. As for Young Master’s affairs, we shall handle the administrative matters without any problems."
Pei Zi Yun nodded his head in satisfaction, "Since I’ve already settled the issue of the consensus, there’s only the problem of space left. I initially had a piece of land near the small eastern river which spanned five hundred mu. It’s a pity that I already have tenants for that plot of land, and thus cannot give it to the mountain people."
"But I’m prepared to buy more lands for all of you. Among you, there are about twenty five families. I’m willing to buy fifteen mu of land for each family, and give Qing Qing fifty mu of land. I shall also buy an ox for each family to plough the lands."
"As for the houses, I shall instruct Chen Yuan to build them along this stretch, close to the Pei temple."
"All of you can settle down peacefully here. One more thing, here’s a thousand taels of silver in notes. Use this money to settle the necessary household equipment and items." Pei Zi Yun said.
The young lady did not act pretentiously as well, as she stepped forward to receive the notes, "Many thanks, Young Master."
Pei Qian Shi watched as Pei Zi Yun led a huge group of people to their village as he stressed and worried about them. She didn’t think much of it, a smile was etched on her face.
Now that it was peace times and Pei Zi Yun had an entire group of followers, she was not too worried about his safety. At this point, she stood beside him, waiting for him to finish with his dealings.
After he was done, she walked over to him, smiling, "It’s very filial of you to want to take mother to the city now that you are more stable and settled. However, I’ve been living in this village for so many years, I can’t bear to leave."
"Mother, although peace times are upon us, we haven’t experienced a long period of peace yet, and thus it is not as safe and secure as you think. It will be safer if you live in the city. You and my master should head back to the city first. I still have matters to settle here."
"Bai San Chu shall follow you to the city."
"Big brother, big brother, carry me." Liao Qing Ye opened her arms wide as she was being carried by Pei Qian Shi.
"Okay, big brother will carry you." Pei Zi Yun walked over and took her from the embrace of his mother. Ever since he had rescued little Qing Ye, the both of them formed a very strong bond with each other.
"It’s getting late, let’s depart!" Yu Yun Jun said as she looked up at the sky.
Pei Qian Shi was not dumb, and knew that her son’s sudden actions indicated that there was some danger to her life. She thus did not resist and add more problems to her son’s burdens. With a sigh, she stood up to leave.
The ox-cart had been prepared much earlier. Pei Qian Shi followed Yu Yun Jun up the horse-cart, with Pei Zi Yun personally walking them out. As the sky started to turn dark, tiny raindrops began falling. From afar, a man dressed in rough tunic was observing their movements. A person behind him asked, "Master Shi, they are leaving. What should we do?"
Hiding under the shadows of trees, Shi Mu Zhong replied harshly, "I had originally planned to kidnap this guy’s mother. Who would’ve thought that he was a step ahead of me. This plan won’t work out anymore. These mountain people are just regular people, killing them wouldn’t bring us any benefits. Damn it!"
The wind was gradually picking up, giving a chilly atmosphere to the dry summer season. Mist started circling around the village, spurred on by the wind. Shi Mu Zhong frowned and thought to himself for some time before sighing, "Let’s go back first and think of another idea."
"Boss Chen, your business is getting bigger by the day." Several days later, in the afternoon, Chen Yuan was walking along the river banks and someone greeted him.
"Many thanks, I’m just making small change." Chen Yuan smiled and replied.
"Boss Chen, you can board the boat now. Now that Master Top Scorer’s fame and works have rocked the entire nation, and even the Emperor himself has heard of his talents, every single word uttered is more precious than gold. You’re fortunate that Master Top Scorer hired you to run his affairs for him, you must’ve earned quite a huge sum of money from him."
"Young Master does look after me well and pays me well. I am not corrupted, neither do I cheat him of his money, please do not speak without thinking." Chen Yuan glared at him.
This man had wanted to continue their conversation. When he looked at Chen Yuan’s evident anger, he didn’t dare to speak further. He then thought about how Chen Yuan had just been a small time stall keeper years ago. Now, he was a small time landowner, with fifteen mu of land to his name. He even had shares in the shops owned by Pei Zi Yun in the county.
Chen Yuan held the umbrella over his head and made his way to Snail Village.
Raindrops drizzled down upon the entire land. Pei Zi Yun was cooped up within his room, practicing his writing skills.
Although several days had passed, his worry for his mother had not dissipated. Liao Qing Ye could not bear to leave him as well, but she had no choice but to follow his master back to the prefecture city.
He had affairs to handle with regards to the land, houses, relationships with people and the government officials. At this point, he heard a knock on the door, "Young Master, Chen Yuan has arrived."
He then sighed deeply, before placing down his quill. He walked over to the window, and looked at the raindrops falling on the leaves, causing a pitter patter sound.
'I wonder how you are doing right now?' The rain increased in intensity as Pei Zi Yun was thinking to himself. He had written the letter and enclosed a red bean within the letter before handing it to his master to dispatch it. He wondered how Ye Su’er was doing, how was she settling into her sect. Had she been bullied by anyone? Did she put on weight, or was she still skinny?
Chen Yuan walked in and saw that Pei Zi Yun was standing at the window, gazing out. He then greeted enthusiastically, "Young Master, you’re finally back. I’ve finished everything that you’ve tasked me to do since our last meeting."
"Tell me more, have you met with any troubles recently?" Pei Zi Yun asked.
"Young Master, I’ve not met with any problems. Ever since you headed to the capital city, and won the praise of the Emperor for your works, word has spread all around the nation. Although there was some slight hiccups when you asked me to buy another fifty mu of land, it was resolved quite easily."
"Oh, you handled things quite well. This silver is for you." Pei Zi Yun then tossed an ingot of ten silver taels over.
"Thank you for your generosity." Chen Yuan smiled as he thanked him, "Young Master, it’s not just that. Our neighboring prefectures have all been talking about you and your works as well. Your book on the Great Learning is starting to get popular as well. Your every word are being treated like precious gold. In the future, whenever Young Master is out but forgot to bring any money, all you have to do is to pick up a quill and start writing."
"I shall go out and take a look." Pei Zi Yun nodded his head, "Stay here and write a note for me."
Chen Yuan was stunned, and yet agreed, "Yes Young Master."
Pei Zi Yun draped on his raincoat and walked out.
"Tribe Leader, we made a good choice following the Young Chieftain here to Ying Prefecture. The soil is rich and extremely fertile. I went to take a look, a single mu here could yield so much more than back on the mountains." The old lady’s face was all smiles as she carried an umbrella, speaking to He Qing Qing.
"I’ve seen it for myself as well. The soil here is indeed of much better quality and richer than back in the Southern Mountains. The land had already been divided among us. With the grace of the Young Chieftain, each household now own lands. We are now landowners, and no longer tenants. He even gave us oxen to plough our lands. We will live comfortably once the harvest comes in next year." He Qing Qing looked at the ox before her as she spoke.
The both of them were deep in discussion when a mountain villager came over, "Tribe Leader, the Young... The Young Chieftain is here."
He Qing Qing was filled with delight when she heard this, "Young Chieftain is here? Let’s go and pay our respects."
As Pei Zi Yun walked across, he was greeted with many bows. Pei Zi Yun was full of smiles as he watched the mountain people settling in their new homes. He Qing Qing stepped forward and gave a deep bow as well, "Young Chieftain."
Pei Zi Yun laughed, "How are you settling?"
"Young Chieft… Young Master, we are very comfortable here. Look, the households have all already been allocated with their plot of lands." The old lady pointed out as she spoke, "The oxen are there too, look, every household owns an ox."
"Everyone is helping the carpenter with the construction of the houses, and everyone is contented. Young Chieftain, I might even be able to live another fifteen years here." The old woman then pointed at the young lady, "My generation and the following generation are old, and withering soon. But now, our future generations will live prosperously and free of fighting. My old self can even help you looking after the children of the coming generations."
Pei Zi Yun nodded his head, as he turned around, making his way to the ancestral temple. He took several steps, into the temple. He felt that feeling of clear disparity in atmospheres between the exterior and the interior of the temple. The atmosphere within the temple was calm and quiet. Pei Zi Yun stood before the altar and bowed thrice deeply. He then ignited an incense stick before placing it in the burner, watching in silence, deep in thought.
'Now that Xie Cheng Dong has revealed his intentions to kill me, this proves that there’s someone supporting him, planning with him and giving him information.'
'Xie Cheng Dong, although you took me by surprise, you’ve already revealed your plans. Naturally, I shall retaliate and exact my revenge. According to the original owner’s memories, you were indeed formidable.'
'Your vast network of people spread across the entire nation, which is why all you have to do is call, and they will step up and do your bidding, gaining an upper hand from the changes in Imperial Qi.'
'As for these chess pieces of yours, let me recall.'
Pei Zi Yun took a step forward, 'Shi Mu Zhong is indeed despicable, and yet there are no information or records on him. I’ve borrowed the information database from Free Cloud Sect and could not find anything on him. Seems like he is one of the secretly planted chess pieces put in place by Xie Cheng Dong.'
'Afterall, Free Cloud Sect is just a Dao sect, and thus would not have the most accurate and wide sources of information. In other words, only government offices have access to information that nobody else would possess.'
'Searching for Shi Mu Zhong would be difficult and troublesome, especially since he was a secretly assigned pawn belonging to Xie Cheng Dong. For now, information on him would be within the highest levels of secrets. However, in the future, this will be a glorious achievement for Shi Mu Zhong, to have been of service to Xie Cheng Dong. Everyone would speak of it.'
'This thus presents me with an opportunity. It’s just that the following days would see Xie Cheng Dong reveals less of his chess pieces and moves. Since the original owner had been captured, he only knew of three prefectures in which Xie Cheng Dong revealed his moves.'
'Ying Prefecture, Yong Prefecture and Liang Prefecture. As for the rest, the original owner had no idea, since he had been captured by then.'
'Since I’m in Ying Prefecture, I should start with Ying Prefecture. Meng Luo Gong was one of Xie Cheng Dong’s chess pieces in Ying Prefecture. Although the information available to Free Cloud Sect wasn’t huge, it was much easier to conduct a research with a name.'
'And over these few years, Xie Cheng Dong authority and powers increased, how could he not have made enemies? I know of a few, maybe I should contact some of them.'
'The enemy of my enemy, although cannot be considered my friend, is worth joining forces with.'
Pei Zi Yun then laughed. He had already settled the mountain people in, and had assigned his mother to the care and protection of his master. He had no more worries now.
'I shall eradicate every henchman belonging to Xie Cheng Dong one by one, and take away his destiny with the strokes of my sword.'
As he remained deep in thought, a thunder roared loudly, "Kaboom!"
The information interface reacted to the thunder, a line of red words formed before his eyes.
Mission: Uproot Xie Cheng Dong’s influence over Ying Prefecture
It was very dim within the ancestral temple, with a single light flickering, emanating a greenish glow. Pei Zi Yun took several steps forward, with his expression hidden beneath the shadows. He laughed, "Indeed, such a fitting mission."
"You wish to exact your revenge too huh?"